What is it, two local jewelers robbed at gunpoint in as many weeks? What’s going on there? Enterprising criminals branching out? Or the result of suddenly hostile economy? Not sure.
Although, with the economy being what it is, and with disposable income disappearing faster than local polibloggers, I’m thinking that crime will be on the rise and in very short order. We had the Sunoco robbed at knifepoint, which resulted in the WNEP video showing a Wilkes-Barre police officer doing something or other with his leg behind a parked vehicle. Did he kick the perpetrator when he was already subdued? Or did he “sweep” the guy as the police chief said he did? No idea.
As for me, I’d like to believe that he kicked the guy just for further effect, but I’m a nut job who knows that violence can be the solution to many situations that others might find so completely vexing.
Anyway, the breaking news that was the WNEP video had WILK’s Steve Rodham Corbett getting all apoplectic. You know the deal with the left-leaning weenies. They support the cops right up until they are forced to act. Yep, they’re real, real big law and order types until the law enforcement hammer comes down with a mighty thud. Then, the cops are the suspects. Then, the cops are on trial. Then, the loathing of authority comes into play. Predictable. Typical. Lame-assed second-guessing in lieu of facts.
“Good cops are hard to find.”--Corbett, 5-12-08
“I’m about as pro-cop as you get.”--Corbett, 5-13-08
Sounds conflicted, doesn’t he? I think, as a child of the destructive sixties, he’s a hater of all things authority, but makes those pro-cop statements just in case he ends up on the wrong side of the law. Again, typical. Lame. I support you…just in case.
Anyway, if I’m feeling financially squeezed just a tad, imagine what it must be like to be on the bottom few rungs of the socio-economic ladder right about now. Let’s see here, I’m earning a pittance--$7 bucks an hour--and the commute to work is whacking me upside the fat head to the tune of $4 bucks a gallon. Bread prices are soaring. Beer prices are following suit. Heroine has gone up. And so has crack. Where to turn?
Um, why not turn to crime? Yeah, put a knife to somebody’s throat. Invade a jewelry store with the guns brandished. Loiter outside a Taco Bell and snatch a purse. I know! How about a home invasion? Yeah, crush the aged dog with the arthritic hips, slap the elderly woman to the floor, and make off with the money for the through-the-roof-and-into-the-sky utility bills. How’s that for problem solving, for thinking on one’s feet?
The point is, with the economy in the dunk tank, be very aware of your surroundings, people. And, yes, many times you can judge a book by it’s well-worn cover. So if somebody looks like a villainous cretin, assume that they are a villainous cretin until they prove otherwise. Keep the front door locked when you’re busy pruning prickly things out back. Be prepared by arming yourself…just in case. And if some lowlife purse snatcher is helplessly pinned to the ground by disgruntled onlookers, don’t simply “sweep” that loser. Kick that fu>ker right in the ribs.
As the economy fades, the crime statistics rise.
I‘m not a finicky eater, I’m probably a noticeable tick short of being in the Guinness World Records class of thoroughly squeamish eaters. Always have been and I always will.
I’ll not take all of the blame, much of which I attribute to my first step-dad’s disgusting habit of putting uncooked meats on the dinner table night after night. Well, they were cooked. A little. But if this guy were shipwrecked and could not generate fire on the sand-covered coral reef he was doomed to live out his days on, he’d be perfectly fine making with the cannibal bit. Yuk. Give me a grilled cheese, or give me death.
My kids still make fun of my divided dinner plate. Yep, my dinner plate is cut into three sections by elevated ridges so that my foodstuffs are isolated from each other. I don’t want the mashed potatoes and corn blend. I want mashed potatoes. And then I want corn. I am a culinary segregationist. Don’t want no yellows mixing it up with no whites. And no touching.
And I absolutely abhor most (what I like to call) poor slop. Poor slop is the direct result of being poor while living in a country or a region that does little or nothing to combat abject poverty. I saw a documentary about poverty in Africa once, and in that film was a village where the emaciated children trapped flies all day long so that their emaciated mom’s could later form and grill patties for supper. Fly patties, that is. That’s poor slop at it’s absolute poorest. Or, gourmet food, I suppose, iffin’ you’re one of those filthy-rich republicans.
This could get me beaten bloody in this area, but most Polish delicacies easily qualify as being poor slop designates. A pierogie: A heaping heap of mashed potatoes, a microscopic amount of cheese and plenty of basic, threadbare dough. Kielbasa: Unknown meat scraps the dog likely snub his nose at, heavily, heavily spiced and wrapped in an intestine. Haluski: Pasta, cabbage and not much else. Not exactly what you’d find at your typical White House dinner, but wholly edible nonetheless. Poor slop.
And then we’ve got Mexican food. Is it? In most countries, the ingredients of which would be used as fertilizer, rather than foodstuffs. Mexicans are not exactly known for their excessive wealth, which belies the fact that they consume what would amount to filler in recipes from all over the world. Taco: Substandard ground beef and less than exotic chopped veggies wrapped by a piece of a barely cooked bread-like thing. And topped by a sauce that could make graffiti ooze it’s way off the sides of buildings. A sauce that, when made correctly, burns the tongue unusable, rumbles the intestinal tract loose and gets the sphincter crying out for immediate relief. Refried beans: Need I go into that one? Jesus! Burrito: Throw something, anything in there and wrap it up. And try to conceal the rapidly impending flatulence storm. A piss-poor product of the economic climate at hand, the immediate environs and the need to fill the belly and little else. Unimaginative poor slop. Quite the rage in this country of late, still, poor slop.
With all of that listed, Wifey creates and enjoys many variations on your most basic of basic poor slops, and she makes no apologies for doing so. She likes that stuff. And, quite often, when I comment on what she’s got on her plate, she gets to giggling herself silly. She knows I’m right. It’s poor slop. But, as she almost always says in response, “But it’s good.” Whatever. So be it. Slop on.
We were watching some god-awful cooking show on the Food Network the other night, and the “chef” contestants were preparing some of the weirdest grilled sandwiches I had ever heard of. And in my mind, not really edible unless you’ve just concluded a lengthy hunger strike. The way I see it, if it looked like what’s left in the bottom of a bus pan after the dirty dishes have been racked, it ought not be put on the menu. And when one of them got to preparing spaghetti and meatball sandwiches, the yuk factor kicked me for me. Spaghetti…and meatballs…on sour dough bread?
Get the funk out of here. You’ve got to be kidding me. Take off that chef coat, hang your head in shame and proceed to the nearest exit. Reminds me of the guy who used to come into the restaurant and order a cole slaw melt. Yeah, you got it, cole slaw between slices of cheese and white bread and grilled to a very demented perfection. Or the guy that used to order brown gravy on his buttermilk pancakes. Or the guy, Roman, who’s daily dose was a grilled sandwich which consisted of two pieces of white bread, three slices of cheese and about a quarter of a bottle of French’s mustard. The only thing he lacked was a bib to absorb the squirts of escaping mustard.
Oh, but wait. Wifey interjected with, “We used to eat those. They’re good.” “They” being the spaghetti and meatball sandwiches. Okay, stupidly, I’ll bite.
And I just turned and gave her that look. That disbelieving look. That, you’ve got to be kidding me, look. Spaghetti and meatballs on white bread? Is there no limit? She laughed uncontrollably. She’s Polish and I’m not.
Turns out, there is no actual limit, as she went on to describe how delicious chicken noodle soup sandwiches are. Chicken Noodle Soup sandwiches? Yep, you got it, she and her siblings used to strain the soggy noodles and the tiny shards of meat that sort of resembled chicken out of a bowl of chicken noodle soup and spread it out across slices of white bread. Thus, her not-so-trademarked chicken noodle soup sandwiches. You think you know people, and then this? I’ve been married for 29 years this summer, but this is too, too much. Okay, sweetie, so what won’t you stick between two slices of bread? She laughed uncontrollably. Poor slop. Whatever.
And in these respects, I told her that--culinary-wise--Polish people are like complexionally-challenged Mexicans. Or, perhaps, African nomadic types that chase insects around all day long for the purposes of not starving to death.
And yet, she makes fun of those ad-hoc delights (the name of which now escapes me) we enjoyed when I was a gangly sprat of just a few years. You know the one. The thin layer of margarine spread over a single piece of white bread topped by a sprinkling of sugar. Yum.
Unlike those all-knowing leftists, I will not lobby any congressmen to outlaw such vile and disgusting practices. Nope, unlike those perpetually conspiring control freaks, I want you to remain free to consume that which makes you happy and feeling temporarily satisfied. But that does come with a caveat. If a poor slop concoction of some deranged sort really floats your listing culinary boat, I don’t want to know about it.
I’ve got my three-section divider plate and my idiosyncrasies. And you’ve got your brainsick poor slop.
Let’s leave it at that.
I was giggling at Steve Rodham Corbett’s expense last night, while he was doing his level best to dissuade the diehard Hillary Clinton supporters from voting for the clueless wonder--Barack Obama--in the fall. He calls it Operation Turndown. I call it abject idiocy and sour grapes, but he’d likely dispute that.
Remember, the 60s kids gone radicals that didn’t overdose know everything. They had the Marxist indoctrination, they had free love, they had Woodstock, they had riots, they had narcotics in great abundance, they had white guilt, they had protests, they had Jane Fonda, they had constant upheaval, they had the Gulf of Tonkin, they had Janis Joplin, they had the nonstop, nonsensical activism…and the societal sanity we’ve had since pales in comparison. Sez them, now that they’re all old, frightened out of their wits by their own mortality and even somewhat sober.
Malcontented, unappreciative fu>k-ups, I like to call them.
You see, he’s not like you and me. No, he’s smart and brilliant and worldly and perfect, and making like a poor loser is certainly beneath a super being of his magnitude. He outright promised us that Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States. He was smug and smarmy and cocky and overly self-assured while displaying his superior punditry for all to see, all of which has proven to be grossly incorrect. Turns out, Hillary Clinton will not be the next president of the United States. And, from what I’m hearing on my imported radio, the brawler turned political prognosticator doesn’t like it. You know, when you talk some serious trash, it would sure help if you knew what you were talking about in the first place.
So, he claims that Barack Obama supporters have labeled those not yet gone completely gaga on the clueless wonder--Obama--as being vile racists. I’ve seen and heard some of that out there. It’s annoying as all hell, but no reason to go freaking out or anything even remotely close. Repeat after me: Yawn. Call me whatever you will, just don’t touch any of my stuff. Names will never harm me, but I will use sticks, stones and other stuff attached to my torso to break your bones if you touch my stuff.
Worse yet, those same Obama supporters have called him a racist for his staunch, unbending support of Hillary Clinton. And since Rodham Corbett will not stand for being called a racist, i.e., an evil, rich republican, he has launched Operation Turndown, a embarrassingly childish and patently foolish attempt to weaken Barack Obama’s chances of winning the big fall electoral throw down.
Whatever happened to voting for a democrat, any democrat? That’s what Corbett has been spewing. Any democrat would be preferable to another one of those dastardly republicans, especially some old, old guy like John McCain. Yeah, he said Hillary and Barack were clearly the best of the three candidates. And he said their entitlement-laden platforms, as well as their levels of highly questionable experience were virtually the same. Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama? Tennessee Tuxedo? Cindy Brady? It doesn’t matter, so long as it’s a democrat and not that old, old guy, John McCain.
Funny what developed next. Rodham Corbett keeps telling us that we’re racists. You know the pitch: He’s lived everywhere twice, and, according to him, there is no more racist place than Northeastern Pennsylvania. We’re racists. He knows it, but we won’t admit to it. He knows it, but we refuse to “grow out of it.” He’s right, and we “don’t get it.”
So, caller after caller after caller wholeheartedly agreed with him and vowed on a stack of second-hand Korans to never vote for Barack Obama. And Rodham Corbett ate it up. Yeah, man. Nobody…and I mean nobody is going to call Rodham Corbett a racist. Well, that is, despite the odd fact that those he deemed to be unabashed racists were now calling in and cheering him on. In effect, yesterday, quite by accident, he was the leader of the local racists and he seemed to be relishing the role. His sophomoric self-importance always stands in the way of his ill-fated attempts at making any discernible or sustainable sense.
But the entire ridiculous thing--Operation Turndown--kind of backfired on the bombastic and self-absorbed self-promoter who just recently became an annoyingly loudmouthed card-carrying democrat. Caller after caller after caller said if Barack Obama receives the democratic nomination, they will vote for John McCain in November. Whoa there!
Now, if I’m a democratic party operative, I’m hoping that Rodham Corbett comes down with a debilitating vocal chord disease, at least until after the November election. And if I’m Barack Obama, I’m thinking: Will you please shut the fu>k up already? Party unity, no? The greater good? Defeat those child-killing republicans, right? Appeasement Central, yo? But, on this one, there is no shutting up Rodham Corbett. Because he will not stand for being called what he calls all of us…a racist. You see, he is many, many heads and shoulders above what he reserves for the lot of us ignorant racist hayseeds.
Again, caller after caller after caller said if Barack Obama receives the democratic nomination, they will vote for John McCain in November. And after hearing this most surprising of laments for hours and hours on end, Steve Rodham Corbett concluded, “The way I’m hearin’ it, John McCain is the next president of the United States.”
And I immediately resent to him the following e-mail that I had sent to him exactly one month ago:
And as was the case exactly one month ago, he did not bother to reply to my regurgitated e-mail. Not a big surprise, being that he tries to pretend that those who do not agree with him are not worthy of a reply, or anything else. It’s become painfully obvious to me that he doesn’t like me one bit. Proof positive that I’m doing something right. Truth be told, I’d rather be smothered in Rosie O’Donnell’s undergarments than to be in any ideological lockstep with the dizzying likes of Rodham Corbett.
Rodham Corbett doesn’t like me?
High fives, baby!
He waxes not-so-poetic ad nauseum, he brags of his non-existent political punditry and his non-existent prognosticating insights, but it was little ole me that clued him in on the big upset exactly one month ago. He didn’t like it then. And he doesn’t like it now.
So, let’s get this straight, shall we? The all-inclusive, all-encompassing, open-minded, clean as the wind-driven stem cell white democrats supporting the white lady will not stand for being called racists by the obnoxious, name-calling supporters of the black guy. And, as a direct result, despite their previously stated undying allegiance to the democratic party and to all the free goodies that it stands for, they now adamantly refuse to vote for the black guy. They would just assume vote for the vile, baby-killing republican, that old, old white guy before they’d stoop so completely low as to vote for the black guy.
If that’s not ingrained racism finally boiling to the surface, it’s childish-sounding, and petty sour grapes on clear display. And I’ll leave it to Steve Rodham Corbett and his legions of embittered myrmidons to decide which. Yeah, I’ll leave it to Steve Rodham Corbett, the newfound leader of the sore losers, the closet racists and those probably not worthy of casting a vote.
Despite all of their high-minded sounding and idealistic, politically-correct, feel-good rhetoric being repeated to the point of abject absurdity, what the whitest of the local democrats really want the most is a white president. And all that they needed was the slightest of excuses, the slightest, most minute of provocations to finally force them into admitting as much. All that they needed to finally dispense with the laughably open-minded prevarication that is the invite-only platform of the democratic party and finally sport their inherent racism on their long, long-stained sleeves was none other than Mr. Inclusive gone Mr. Non-Inclusive...Steve Rodham Corbett. The loud, mouthy white guy, the all-knowing know-nothing blowhard who wholeheartedly supported the white lady, who has suddenly gone completely rogue on the black guy.
Operation Turndown? Nah, try Operation Turncoat.
Code for ‘vote white.’
Dude, I’m dizzy. Whew!
One thing, the old WDAU water tower. True story, when I was a kid and we drove the 400-plus miles from Derby, Connecticut to Wilkes-Barre, as we made our way across the Butler Street Bridge and I spied that big eyeball on that tower, I knew I was but seconds away from seeing my grandparents. Fact is, I looked forward to seeing that big eyeball on that big water tower. My grandparents may be long gone, I’ll never forget it.
How long have you been in North End?
Uh, despite the frequent interludes spent outside of it many moons ago, most of my life. Trust me, you could do much worse than live in the North End of Wilkes-Barre. For the most part, it’s quiet. Always has been.
As far as the mine subsidence is concerned, I want to know why individual homeowners must be held accountable when the folks who did the original damage--the coal barons--were not. It’s an injustice perpetrated upon those it need not be perpetrated upon, and those who can least afford it. They walked away from an enormous, area-wide ecological disaster in the making, but we can’t up and walk away from a well-manicured quarter-acre? Cut me a friggin’ break.
The trains? How do we suppose kids in junior high back in that day traveled from here to there to take in high school football games? The trains. How convenient they were. Cross Penn Avenue, grab on, and before you know it, you’re at Meyers Stadium. Or Plains Stadium. Or Wyoming Area stadium. Pittston. They--our parents--didn’t really think we walked all the way to West Wyoming to take in a football game, did they? How “old days” gullible. Then again, maybe they really didn’t want to know. That is, until the state police called asking what they should do with your severed leg. When kids play with fast-moving trains, bad things can and do happen. I came perilously close a few times myself. But it didn’t kill me or cut my dragging left leg off behind me, so as the old adage goes, it made me stronger. Right!
Hey, don’t sweat falling down the front steps while in a drunken stupor. It’s been done by the best/worst of them and many times over. Although, not by anyone that had their coat on backwards. That one was uniquely you. And funny as all hell. It takes a special person to generate a memory that will last forever after the last of the kegs have been kicked. And, in that regard, you are immortalized. The Twanger went banger.
Dude, honestly, keep up the good work with W-B Online. You are right, Wilkes-Barre is not a joke, it is not a backwards town, it has in fact grown (especially since McGroarty) and it's proudly where I say I'm from.
You know it!
Despite the half-century long out-migration of our youth, most of the people I know who were all but forced to leave this place while in pursuit of quality employment would give up most everything they have elsewhere (save for that sought-after financial security) to return to their roots. To Wilkes-Barre, or the Wilkes-Barre area.
I don’t know what it is. All I know is, I felt it as a little kid. No matter what state or big city I lived in or near, Wilkes-Barre kept on calling to me. You can dismiss all of that as some small kid’s endless hankering to be with his grandparents.
But I’m here to tell you that Derby, Connecticut had no lush, hopping Public Square, no Planter’s Peanuts smell wafting over the entire affair, no two-for-a-buck Kresge’s pizza slices, no McCrory’s five-and-dime, no Woolworth’s luncheonette, no Woolworth’s basement toy department, no Woolworth’s basement pet department, no Lazarus, no Percy Brown’s and no Pomeroy’s. No Paramount. No Comerford. No Book-and-Record Mart. Nothing that brought everyone, no matter what their varying stripes, to that same special place.
Whether we realized it at the time or not, what we had here in Small Town America was uniquely special. And even though it cannot be reconstituted exactly as it once was, some of us still believe it can and soon will become the modern day equivalent of what it once was: A place you’d be happy to call home.
Stay in touch.